Who were the Nephilim of Gen. 6:1-4
and who are the sons of god?
The sons of god
There are a lot of stories and fables concerning the passage in Genesis 6:1-4. We have all heard of those who believe that the sons of "god" (Gen. 6:2) were fallen messages (angels), who kept not their first estate, and had relations with the daughters of men resulting in some super-human corrupted being. These fables make good stories, but that is all they are, stories. The truth lies in Scripture, but requires a correct analysis of the applicable passage involved (exegesis), and not relying on the fables, or stories promoted by men.
Some others hold, since angels are sexless, (without the need or ability to procreate) the words "took them wives" must signify some kind of a lasting marriage, and that the reference must have to do with the break down and the separation of the godly line of Seth from the un-godly line of Cain. A refinement of this last view would hold that the expression "sons of god" would refer to the godly folks, while "daughters of men" refers to the un-godly. It is our position at the Assembly of Yahweh, Cascade, that both these views are false.
What we do know from other scriptures, is, that "celestial" messengers (angels) are indeed sexless beings. Yahshua indicated such in Matt. 22:30, and in Mk 12:25. Messengers of Yahweh are NOT given in marriage; they are ministering entities that can become visible and be seen in the "semblance" of the human form, (Gen. 19:1). They always have a masculine gender, and they can have access to inconceivable power (2 Kings 19:35), power given to them only by Yahweh for His purpose. Their primary place is about the throne of Yahweh, (Rev. 5:11; 7:11).
We must also understand that Yahweh is always in complete control of all His creation, and His messengers (they were created to serve Him). He (Yahweh) says, "My counsel does stand, and all My delight I do" (Isa.46: 10)..... also "I have created the waster to destroy" (Isa.54: 16)....and also, He is... "working all matters according to the counsel of His desire," (Eph.1: 11).
How errors occur
One of the words we find most often in modern translations, that tends to completely confuse passages like Gen. 6:2, is the ancient Canaanite idol name of "Gawd," (in English it becomes "god, or God). In the Hebrew vs 2; the phrase "sons of god" does NOT translate as "sons" of the Almighty Creator, whose name is YHWH (Yahweh)." The Hebrew term "Alueim" (here with the article) has the meaning sons of the “mighty ones," like as "magistrates." These are simply man-kind-like (but not Adamic-man like) terrestrial people types with considerable local authority, and might. Their power was enough to influence the local population, force their mandate and evil on both Adamic-man, and on the other man-kinds (pre-Adam races) of the time. These "sons of god (mighty-ones)" are not some fallen mystical spiritual being(s), or some super celestial fallen “angel” messenger(s), for the messengers (angels) of Yahweh are always under His complete control, and never deviate from the service to their own Creator….ever.
The sentence referring to the "Nephilim" incorrectly translated "giants" in many modern English translations (Gen. 6:4) was (we believe) inserted by the author of Genesis, to establish a historical time line, or reference point; the period during which the "sons of the mighty ones" began having unlawful relations with "the daughters of the Adamic-man." The Nephilim we are told, "came to be in the land "in those days" (before the flood), "and they were there also afterward" (were there even after the flood).
A carefully considered reading of Gen. 6: 4, will show, that the "Nephilim" were not involved sexually with the daughters of the Adamic-man, but that the Nephilim existed as part of the local population during the time the miscegenation between the "sons of the mighty ones," occurred with the "daughters of the adamic-man." The result was---Yahweh removing of His Life-Force Essence power and influence, out of what had become a "corrupted Adamic-man bloodline"; establishing a limited life span to fall within 120 years, and the eventual destruction of all of the corrupted (mixed blood) descendants of the Adamic line through a regional flood, saving only Noah (and his family), who was pure (unadulterated) in his genealogy, (his Adamic bloodline was pure), (Gen. 6:8-9). This was the beginning of a recovered family of sons who had a pure Adamic bloodline, (Gen. 9:1); the selected remnant of the pure blood-line of Adamic men in, and with whom the Life-Force Essence power and influence of the Creator Yahweh would, and could again dwell.
The last line of verse 4 closes with the thought that continues the narration of the first sentence; the addition of a physical description (identification) of the Nephilim; that they are from an ancient age most would not recall (possibly from pre-adam time); that they are a strong powerful race, having a conspicuous disposition (a bully or beast temperament). They are recognized because they had made a name for themselves, not because they were the good guys, but because they practiced "over-powering" other peoples, and races. The Nephilim were mostly destroyed by Israel during the conquest of Canaan, and completely wiped of the face of the earth during battle by David's elite warriors.
A correct translation of Gen. 6:1-4.
(Note: Numbers indicated as "<0120>" are Strong's Hebrew numbers used for “reference” only)
1 And it came to be, that the Adam-man 1 <0120> began <02490> to be multitudinous <07231> upon
<05921> the face <06440> of the soil <0127>, and daughters <01323> are born <03205> to them.
2 And seeing <07200> are the sons <01121> of the mighty ones 2 <0430>, the daughters <01323> of the
Adam-man <0120>, ------- 3 that they <02007> are good <02896>; and they are taking <03947> to
themselves women <0802> of all whom they select <0977>. 3 And saying, <0559> is Yahweh <03068>
"My life breath 4 <07307> will not continually <05769> contend 5 <01777> in the Adam-man <0120>, in
their going astray:6 <07683> <01320>------- and his days <03117> shall be a hundred <03967> and
twenty <06242> years <8141>. 4 Now, the Nephilim 7<05303> come to be in the land <0776> in those
days, <03117>; and also afterward, <0310> when <03651> coming <0834> are the sons <01121> of the
mighty ones <0430>,into the <0935> daughters <01323> of the Adam-man <0120>, and they bare
<03205> for them, -------- they <01992> are the powerful ones 8 <01368>, who are from an ancient time
9 <05769>, mortals 10 <0582> of the name 11 <08034>.
1). Heb. 'adamah' (with the article), from which the term the "Adamic-man" is derived. Without the article, this would be the proper name of the first man ('Adam) of the adamic race of people.
2). Heb. 'Alueim' is a plural noun, but often functions as a collective singular, taking a singular verb. It is related to the Hebrew terms: 'Aloah and 'Al, meaning - the powerful one, or the mighty one (with the article, a description), or Mighty-one, (without the article, a title). It can refer to judge(s), leader(s), ruler(s), celestial beings, gods of nations, or to the One Creator of Israel. Here with the article we translate it as 'the mighty-one' (those who are distinguished from out of the common population) of the various pre-adamic races of people.
3). --------- This 'line' Indicates and reproduces, the location of an important textual and/or context divisions in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts.
4). Heb. 'ruach' lit "wind" to translate this word "spirit" is conjecture. Yahweh is not wind, but “life.”
5). In the sense of 'judge,' or possibly "abide."
6). or possibly "in that he is also flesh" (meaning is uncertain).
7). The meaning is uncertain, as the root verb is unclear; possibly "cast-down, or fallen ones" (during battle), "miscarried ones," "distinguished ones," "wonderful ones," or "mighty ones, strong ones (of the ruling class, not for intelligence, but because of their ability to over-power others)," used only here and Num. 13:33. This Heb. word does not translate "giant," and to do so is conjecture. Content in Num. 13:33 may indicate that these 'sons of Anaq' may also have been a race with large size and stature.
8). Heb. 'powerful' as in warrior, or possibly as a "tyrant, or trouble maker."
9). Heb. Lit "from an age" 'concealed' possibly "a time out of mind" (in the past or in the future).
10). Heb. 'ish in the plural. Ancient man-kind-like, used with great latitude, lacking the nature of the adamic-man, more in the nature of the Neandertal.
11). Heb. 'name' with the idea of an appellation, a distinctive well known, or famous position (from their attitude to others).
ANAKIM, NEANDERTAL-LIKE BEINGS (also known as Nephilim)
Anthropologists have found human-like bones that they have called Neandertal (or Neanderthal) in Palestine and in Europe. These beings were living contemporary to ("the modern man"), according to the findings. Does the Hebrew Bible say something about them. . . . ?
Deut 1:28: Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims. (first occurrence; elsewhere, 2.10,11,21; 9.2, Josh. 11.21,22;14.12,15, for "sons of Anak", and Anak in Hebrew is a primitive root that means properly to choke, to suffocate, to strangle. Members of the Canaanite tribes.
This passage is connected with the next passage regarding the same issue:
Num 13:32: And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
Num 13:33: And there we saw the giants (Heb. Nephilim), the sons of Anak (the strangler, or the neck), which come of the giants (Heb. Nephilim): and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Num 14:1: And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
The other scripture that uses the Hebrew word Nephilim is: Gen 6:4 (see above)
More Anakim references in the Book of Deuteronomy:
Deut 2:9: And Yahweh said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.
Deut 2:10: The Emims (Terrible ones, a name given them by the Moabites). Gen. 14.5. A race of Nephilim dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims (the stranglers, sons of Anak, the strangler);
Deut 2:11: Which also were accounted giants (Heb. Rephaim, another name for the Nephilim, from one Rapha. Connected with healing and with Egypt (Gen. 50:2)), as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims (Terrible ones).
Deut 2:12: The Horims (cave-dweller or troglodyte, a Chorite or aboriginal Idumaean, another race or name for the Nephilim, Gen. 14.6) also dwelt in Seir before time; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which Yahweh gave unto them.
Deut 2:19: And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.
Deut 2:20: [That also was accounted a land of giants (Heb. Rephaim): giants (Heb. Rephaim) dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims (Noisy ones, a name given to them by the Ammonites);
Deut 2:21: A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims (stranglers); but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:
Deut 2:22: As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:
Deut 2:23: And the Avims (a primitive root that means to crook as to do amiss, commit iniquity, pervert, to do wickedly, to overthrow, another name for these Nephilim. Josh. 13.3. Ava was later a region of Assyria, 2 K. 17.24) which dwelt in Hazerim (a place in Palestine), even unto Azzah (also a place in Palestine), the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.]
Deut 9:1: Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
Deut 9:2: A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims (the stranglers), whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak (the strangler)!
Deut 9:3: Understand therefore this day, that Yahweh thy Elohim is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as Yahweh hath said unto thee.
Deut 9:4: Speak not thou in thine heart, after that Yahweh thy Elohim hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness Yahweh hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations Yahweh doth drive them out from before thee.
Deut 9:5: Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations Yahweh thy Elohim doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which Yahweh sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Deut 9:6: Understand therefore, that Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
Anakim references in the Book of Joshua:
Josh 11:20: For it was of Yahweh to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Josh 11:21: And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims (stranglers) from the mountains, from Hebron (a place in Palestine, meaning "the confederacy"), from Debir (a place in Palestine), from Anab (also a place in Palestine), and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.
Josh 11:22: There was none of the Anakims (stranglers) left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza (a place in Palestine), in Gath (a Philistine city, from the Canaanite tribes, place of Goliath and his relatives, 1 Sam. 17; 2 Sam. 21.15-22), and in Ashdod (a place in Palestine), there remained.
Josh 11:23: So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that Yahweh said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
Josh 14:10: And now, behold, Yahweh hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since Yahweh spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five (85) years old.
Josh 14:11: As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Josh 14:12: Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof Yahweh spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims (stranglers) were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be Yahweh will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as Yahweh said.
Josh 14:13: And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron (a place in Palestine) for an inheritance.
Josh 14:14: Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed Yahweh, Elohim of Israel.
Josh 14:15: And the name of Hebron (a place in Palestine) before was Kirjatharba (a place in Palestine that means "city of the four" (giants) or "city of Arba", one of the Anakim; the Hebrew primitive root for the word "Arba" means to squat or lie out flat, i.e. (specifically) in copulation); which Arba was (inserted words) a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.
* Note: Bible version used, the King James Version (KJV); except for LORD is replaced by the proper name "Yahweh," g-d is replaced by "Elohim", parenthetical insertions are notes from "The Companion Bible" by EW Bullinger and definitions from the Strong's Numbers.
An earlier reference:
Gen 14:5: And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, Gen 14:6: And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
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